Many professional football players are known for their work on the field.  Very few of these players, however, are known for their work off the field as well.  New York Jets cornerback, Ellis Lankster, makes his mark in both areas.

Signed by the Jets in 2011, Lankster makes his presence on the field known with his solid tackling and lightning speed.  He constantly pushes himself to be a driving force that delivers for his team.  His personal strength conditioning coach, Vince McConnell, has said in his thirty years of coaching, Lankster is his all-time favorite player to work with—not just because of his professional accomplishments and not just because of his great athleticism, but also because of his intense dedication to his teammates and his willingness to keep learning.

It is important to note that Lankster has chosen to follow along a trail of dedication in all aspects of his life.  He is a man of results.  He is a man of commitment.  And he is a man of purpose.  Besides being dedicated to the New York Jets during the season, he mentors younger athletes, specifically high school and college players, during the off-season.  By working one-on-one with them in order to improve their football skills, the young players benefit along with their coaches.

But there is something else about Lankster—something that distinguishes him from other dedicated athletes in the National Football League.  Lankster suffers from severe stuttering, a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions, prolongations, or abnormal stoppages of sounds and syllables.  It is a disorder Lankster has had to deal with every single day since he learned to speak.  It is a disorder that has caused Lankster years of ridicule.  And it is a disorder that Lankster refused to let prevent him from achieving his dream of playing professional football.

He vividly remembers his own difficulties with stuttering as a child, especially in the classroom—the constant teasing by classmates—the constant name-calling—and the constant uncertainty of teachers as to how to handle him.  The end result for Lankster was withdrawal and a lack of participation in classroom discussions.  In an interview with the National Stuttering Association’s magazine, Letting Go, he painfully recalls not raising his hand, even when he knew the answers.  Rejection tore through his soul.

Now, Lankster is determined that every child who stutters should feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  The doors of opportunity should remain open regardless of one’s struggles with fluency.  He is committed to providing hope to children who stutter by inspiring them to attain their dreams by overcoming the obstacles they face.  In fact, Lankster was honored this past May by the Stuttering Foundation, the world’s leading charitable organization helping those who stutter.  He was recognized for the inspiration he brings to the stuttering community.

By sharing his story, Lankster plays an active role in awareness, illuminating a path to endless possibilities.  For many children, having a role model such as Lankster, who has lived with stuttering, is all the inspiration they need.  He is an example for children that stuttering does not mean you cannot live your dream.  He is proof that any goal can be attained.

As children watch him during interviews and press conferences, it should be clear that self-acceptance transcends challenges such as stuttering.  Even as an adult, the ridicule continues, but instead of shying away from the media and spotlight, Lankster does the opposite—he seeks it out.  It is important to him for children to see him grab the bull by the horns.

I have spoken so far of Lankster’s dedication and inspiration, but it is his philanthropy that also sets him apart from the rest.  As part of his mission to give back, Lankster donates his time to the Stuttering Foundation, speaking with adults and children.  As a New York Jet, he is given two tickets to every home game.  While most players give these tickets to family and friends, Lankster donates them to the Stuttering Foundation.  In turn, they are given to a child who suffers from stuttering.

He continuously reaches beyond the boundaries to benefit those in need.  This past Thanksgiving, Lankster donated 100 turkeys to a community outreach program in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.  His generosity is like a glimmering ray of hope.

And his philanthropy does not end there.  Lankster is also in the process of organizing a charitable, celebrity/athlete basketball event that should take place within the next two months to raise money for the U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan.  He does not give to others out of pity but rather he would pity not giving to others.

I am proud to say that I have personally come to know Ellis Lankster.  After developing a relationship with him through my sports coverage on Twitter, I had the opportunity to meet him at the Jets’ training camp this past summer in Cortland, New York. We have continued to stay in touch.  It is difficult to figure out which is bigger, Lankster’s smile or his heart.

Ellis Lankster is worthy of praise because of his dedication both to his team and to younger athletes, his inspiration to the stuttering community, and his philanthropy to many charitable organizations.

So, let us honor a hero that has taught us to look past our limitations—a hero that has taught us that we have the power to believe—a hero that has taught us that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.  Ellis Lankster continues to bring hope to others and shines a spotlight on what is possible.

Tags: NYJets

New York Jets running back Matt Forte runs with the ball against Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Cory James and cornerback Gareon Conley during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte runs with the ball against Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Cory James and cornerback Gareon Conley during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Miami Dolphins (1-0) at the Jets (0-2) at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. ET.


Coverage on SNY:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Miami Dolphins, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacchiano's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:11
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets' victory vs. the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the Week 2 loss in Oakland, and discuss what the Jets need to do to secure their first win of the season. Later, Jonas and Willie debut two of the show's newest segments, "Willie's Story Time" and "How being an NFL player is better than being you."

Click below to listen!

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Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball and blocks Buffalo Bills free safety Jordan Poyer (21) during the second half at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball and blocks Buffalo Bills free safety Jordan Poyer (21) during the second half at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Jets RB Matt Forte and T Kelvin Beachum were among NFL players who retweeted posts criticizing President Trump's comments on Friday about NFL players who kneel for the national anthem.

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $24,309 after being penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Raiders. 

In the third quarter, Skrine picked up on a short pass to RB DeAndre Washington, but he caught Washington with his helmet first resulting in a penalty that set up a 43-yard touchdown for the Raiders. 

The Raiders had four personal fouls in the game, but none were fined. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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Seferian-Jenkins returns to Jets 00:01:16
Jeane Coakley and Jets' tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins discuss playing for the first time since December and how he can help the team.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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 (Rick Scuteri/AP)
(Rick Scuteri/AP)

G Brian Winters and TE Eric Tomlinson (knee) are out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, the Jets announced Friday.

Either Dakota Dozier or Brent Qvale will start at RG for Winters, Jets head coach Todd Bowles told reporters.

TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and S Rontez Miles (eye) are doubtful.

Tags: Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Will Tye
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets re-signed KR/WR Kalif Raymond to their practice squad after cutting him earlier in the week.

Raymond muffing a punt during the Jets' loss to the raiders in Oakland.

"He's got some tools to develop," coach Todd Bowles said on Thursday. "There are some things we like about him with his speed and catch radius as a receiver, so he's worth bringing back."

Bowles indicated Raymond would likely remain on the practice squad but added that there's still a chance he could make the active roster.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets' RBs 00:00:47
According to offensive coordinator John Morton and Matt Forte, the Jets are looking to utilize all three running backs in their home opener.

 

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Jets Game Plan: Moving forward 00:03:58
The panel breaks down the positives and negatives from Sunday's game and how the Jets can learn from that loss and work towards a win.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets have signed DE David Bass and cut LB Freddie Bishop to make room on the roster.

Bass, who was selected 233rd by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, had been released by the Seahawks on Tuesday.

Bishop had been signed from the practice squad to the active roster last week.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:02
Jeane Coakley talks with quarterback Josh McCown about the Jets' home opener and with CEO Christopher Johnson about Todd Bowles' future.

 

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

It's been a tough two weeks of the season for Jets linebacker Darron Lee, and head coach Todd Bowles wants to see more out of the second-year player. 

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, Lee has looked overmatched at times during the Jets' first two games this year. So far Lee has 12 tackles and one sack. 

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (bruised shoulder) did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but he believes he'll be ready to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. 

Wilkerson suffered the injury during last week's matchup in Oakland, but does not think the bruise is too serious. Head coach Todd Bowles also said he doesn't believe the injury will keep Wilkerson out of action. 

Below is the rest of the Jets' injury report from Wednesday's practice: 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Christopher Johnson, the Jets' acting owner as his brother Woody Johnson serves as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump, says the team isn't tanking.

"It couldn't be further from the truth," Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. "I want to win every game. Every player in that locker room wants to win. What you're seeing, I think, are growing pains. These are young guys. There are some older guys on the team. Some of them, they're doing an extraordinary job. But I think you're going to see this team get better and better and better. That's what I'm looking for. And we are definitely not tanking."

The Jets, who have started the season 0-2 and are expected to have one ot the worst records in the NFL this season, trimmed the roster of the majority of their veterans during the offseason.

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Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

The Jets held workouts with six players on Tuesday, reports NFL Insider Adam Caplan.

The team worked out wide receivers Corey "Philly" Brown, Josh Huff, and Paul Turner; defensive ends Datone Jones and Alex McCalister; and defensive tackle Stefan Charles.

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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)

The Jets defense may have allowed 45 points to the Raiders this past Sunday, but they are not embarrassed as they believe the unit as taken positive steps forward. 

The Raiders racked up 410 total yards as they had both the run and pass game working in their home opener. Though it was a bad performance, LB Darron Lee spoke about why there were no heads hung in the locker room following the game. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game...

Tags: Darron Lee, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Cary Edmondson)
(Cary Edmondson)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game.

Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' 45-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 2...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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Latest look at the next Jets QB 00:00:44
SNY.tv takes a look at how the top collegiate quarterbacks did on the field last weekend.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another loss for the Jets, another step closer to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Of course, even if they don't land the top spot they seem sure to land something in the Top 10, where they'll have a shot at one of the many top college quarterbacks available. Here's a look at some of them, and how their stock has risen or fallen from last week...

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse notched his first touchdowns with the team in the loss to the Raiders on Sunday. 

Kearse and another Jets newcomer, QB Josh McCown, have found chemistry early this season. McCown found the 27-year-old seven times for 59 yards in the season opener against the Bills. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on TwitterKearse continued his strong start as a Jet by leading them with 64 yards on four catches, including two touchdowns. He showed some veteran smarts with a subtle push-off on the first touchdown and made a tough catch with a defender draped over him for his other score. However, his other three catches -- one of which was negated by a penalty -- were short of the first down marker. >> Read more about the receivers and the Jets' offensive performance in Bent's Game Analysis.

Tags: Jermaine Kearse, Charone Peake, Robby Anderson
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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

After putting up 38 total yards in their season opener, the Jets' run game saw an increase in production in loss to the Raiders Sunday. 

Veteran RB Matt Forte was the leader of the running back committee after posting a dismal 16 yards on six carries against the Bills last week. He posted 53 yards on nine carries with his longest being a 16-yard gain.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: After a disappointing first game, the Jets had more success with their running game this week, as three backs combined for 95 yards on 21 carries.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte
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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) catches the ball for a touchdown against Oakland Raiders cornerback David Amerson (29). (Stan Szeto)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) catches the ball for a touchdown against Oakland Raiders cornerback David Amerson (29). (Stan Szeto)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets surprisingly hung around for the best part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game.

However, we're going to break down the performances on the offensive side of the ball first...

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Ben Ijalana, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Bryce Petty, Chad Hansen, Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Dakota Dozier, James Carpenter, Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Robby Anderson, Wesley Johnson, Will Tye
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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) prepares to throw a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) prepares to throw a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)

Jets QB Josh McCown threw for his first touchdowns as a Jet in the team's 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. 

McCown was held without a passing touchdown in the season opener against the Bills, but he made up for it with two in Oakland. However, it wouldn't be enough as the Raiders racked up points in front of their hometown fans. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on TwitterOn paper, McCown had a very good game. He came away with two touchdown passes and a 113.1 quarterback rating and even contributed 31 yards on the ground. However, there were a series of mistakes that are not reflected in his passing numbers...

Tags: Josh McCown
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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) dances on the sideline as wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) watches during a break in the action against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) dances on the sideline as wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) watches during a break in the action against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)

Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins was not happy with how Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch danced during Sunday's 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum.

Jenkins, who was upset at the way the Jets lost, didn't like seeing Lynch dancing and celebrating on the sideline after Oakland took a 35-13 lead on Jalen Richard's 52-yard touchdown run.

"I'm an old-school guy," Jenkins said, according to NJ.com's Darryl Slater. "I don't like when things like that happen. That was embarrassing, losing like that, and to have Marshawn dancing like that. Seeing that happen, that should infuriate the whole [Jets] team. It should infuriate everybody. And we should have to have a good response coming into next Sunday." 

Tags: Jordan Jenkins, Oakland Raiders
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 9/17 00:13:52
The Jets Post Game Overtime crew gives out its report cards following the Jets' 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:03:05
The Football Night in New York crew breaks down the Jets' 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are not a good football team, so when they have an opportunity -- any opportunity -- they have to take advantage.

That's why what happened at the end of the first half of Sunday's 45-20 loss was so catastrophic to their chances on Sunday in Oakland. Forget the final score. Forget that this game turned into a blowout. And forget all the reasons why the Raiders deserved to win this game big.

Tags: Oakland Raiders
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New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty during the game against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty during the game against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

Bryce Petty will be the New York Jets' No. 2 quarterback for the near future, head coach Todd Bowles said after Sunday's 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum.

Bowles did not initially name a backup quarterback to Josh McCown. Although Petty was listed second on the depth chart prior to the season, he was inactive for New York's Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills due to a sprained MCL.

Christian Hackenberg, the Jets' 2016 second-round pick, was listed as inactive for Sunday's game.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Oakland Raiders
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Bowles and McCown on 45-20 loss 00:01:56
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and quarterback Josh McCown talk about what went wrong in the team's 45-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Marshawn Lynch ran for a touchdown in his first home game with Oakland and Derek Carr threw three TD passes to Michael Crabtree to lead the Raiders to a 45-20 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

Cordarrelle Patterson and Jalen Richard added long touchdown runs to help put the game away and give the Raiders (2-0) wins in the opening two games of the season for the first time since their AFC championship season in 2002.

Josh McCown threw a pair of TD passes to Jermaine Kearse but the Jets (0-2) proved to be no match for the more powerful and talented Raiders. >> Read more

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

Tags: Josh McCown, Oakland Raiders
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Bowles on traveling to Oakland 00:01:47
Todd Bowles on the challenge of traveling across the country to face a talented Raiders team, and trying to slow down Marshawn Lynch.

 

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

Seven Jets players are listed as inactive for the team's Week 2 matchup against the Raiders.

QB Christian Hackenberg, CB Derrick Jones, S Rontez Miles, LB Bruce Carter, OL Jonotthan Harrison, TE Eric Tomlinson, TE Jordan Leggett will not suit up on Sunday, according to the team.

QB Bryce Petty, who missed last week's game, is active and will be the backup behind QB Josh McCown. WR Jeremy Kerley and TE Neal Sterling will also return after missing last week's game.

Dakota Dozier is slated to back up C Wes Johnson in the absence of Harrison, who suffered a concussion during practice this week.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Derrick Jones, Jordan Leggett, Rontez Miles
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